I am truly honored to have been interviewed by Jennifer Couzin-Frankel of Science Magazine for the article she wrote on using animal models to guide patient care as this is where my family’s battle with cancer led us. You can read Jennifer’s article “Hope In A Mouse” by clicking here. Thank you Jennifer for including my perspective in this amazing, well-balanced and informative article.
A little more info on our experience….
When I look back on my family’s war with cancer, I believe that “hope” kept us afloat.
We tried everything possible to gain control over the cancer that was ravaging my husband’s body, but nothing was working. We were under the care of top doctors in sarcoma (that is after we fired our first oncologist); we followed the advice of a nutritionist who specialized in working with oncology patients (as a result, my husband Alan had never looked better and his body became strong enough to withstand the massive amounts of toxic therapies he received); we even worked with a spiritual healer (what can I say, we were desperate).
Come November 2009, we were left with no options… and no hope. It was pure luck (and one amazing Uncle) that led us to Champions Oncology. Champions offered us the ability to implant Alan’s cancer into immunodeficient mice (mice with no immune system); test any drug or treatment regimen in these mice; and if we were lucky enough to find something that killed off Alan’s cancer in the mice, there was a really good chance it would do the same in Alan’s body.
Although we knew the odds of success were not in our favor, the ability to test different therapies against Alan’s tumors in mice using the Champions TumorGraft gave us hope. Hope gave us the strength to get out of bed each day and enjoy whatever time our family had left together.
Although we did not find a cure for Alan’s cancer or anything to substantially slow down its growth, we know that we tried everything possible to beat this diagnosis. I sleep at night knowing that we left no stone unturned.
My family’s battle with cancer led me to create CancerHawk. My mission is to connect cancer patients and caregivers to groups and resources they never knew existed or even thought to seek out- groups like Champions Oncology for instance. Knowledge is hope. And hope is everything.
Read the article “Hope In A Mouse” in this week’s Science Magazine and let us know what you think… Would you want access to an experimental approach to guide your treatment even if it’s not yet 100% proven? Or would you prefer that researchers keep it locked up until it is?